What Does a Tax Assessor Do?

Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More

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A tax assessor evaluates the monetary worth of multiple properties in an entire neighborhood. The purpose of their assessments is to determine how much property tax owners should pay to the city, county, or other municipality in which the properties are located.

A tax assessor is an elected or appointed government official. This occupation is closely related to real estate appraisers, which involves evaluating one property at a time to determine its value, usually for a bank or mortgage company.

Tax Assessor Job Description

Tax assessors typically carry out the following job duties:

  • Determine how properties are used and assign classifications based on that
  • Prepare valuation schedules for entire neighborhoods
  • Maintain a database of all properties in their jurisdiction
  • Maintain property maps
  • Defend the accuracy of their assessments when owners challenge them
  • Notify taxpayers annually of the classification and market value of their properties
  • Answer owners' property tax questions
  • Inspect residential properties to look for changes that would affect market value, including improvements or deterioration
  • Gather, edit, and sort property sales data

Tax Assessor Salary

Tax assessors earn more than the median salary of those working in all other occupations but less than other financial specialists. Their earnings vary with experience and location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $54,980
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $102,590
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $29,690

Education, Training, and Certification

There aren't any federally mandated educational requirements—state assessor boards or localities in states that do not have assessor boards set minimum qualifications. A bachelor's degree is usually specified, but some municipalities hire individuals with only a high school diploma.

  • College: Coursework in economics, finance, mathematics, computer science, English, and business or real estate law is useful.
  • Certification: Some states require assessors of real estate to have a certification, such as the Certified Assessment Evaluator (CAE) designation from the International Association of Assessing Officers, but there isn't a federal requirement. To earn the CAE, one needs at least a bachelor's degree and five years of experience and must take an exam to demonstrate their knowledge.
  • State Appraiser License: Some states require assessors to have a state appraiser license. To maintain it, they have to take continuing education courses.

Assessor Skills & Competencies

To succeed as a tax assessor requires specific skills, including soft skills, which are the personal qualities one is either born with or acquires through life experience.

  • Time Management: Tax assessors work under tight time constraints. They must be able to set priorities in order to meet deadlines.
  • Organizational Skills: There are many aspects to assessing properties and performing the other duties of this job. Without excellent organizational skills, it will be impossible to keep track of them all.
  • Problem Solving Skills: Unexpected situations arise, and you will have to come up with ways to fix them.
  • Analytical Skills: Tax assessors have to analyze data from many sources when determining properties' values.
  • Math Skills: This job involves calculating the size of buildings and land.
  • Communication Skills: Excellent listening and verbal communication skills will come in handy when responding to property owners' tax questions.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of assessors is expected to grow 14% between 2016 and 2026, a rate much faster than the average for all occupations during the same period. There are expected to be 11,700 new jobs for both tax assessors and real estate appraisers by 2026. The BLS does not differentiate between the two when reporting job outlook and prospects.

Work Environment

Tax assessor is, for the most part, a desk job, but sometimes assessors visit properties to inspect them.

Work Schedule

Most tax assessors work full time during regular business hours.

How to Get the Job

Apply

Use resources like Indeed, Monster, and Glassdoor to search for tax assessor jobs. Also, check the website of your local municipality for government career opportunities.

Learn How to Apply for Government Jobs

Find out how to complete government job applications.

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